Additional support for Calgarians experiencing homelessness
Today Calgary City Council approved $750,000 in funding for the Calgary Homeless Foundation to coordinate a community cold weather response to support Calgarians experiencing homelessness.
The funding will go towards increasing easy-to-access spaces that provide warmth and basic needs; providing basic winter safety essentials and addressing the barriers that keep some Calgarians experiencing homelessness from accessing shelters.
“The shelters provide a wide range of resources, such as health care, mental health and addiction, housing, and employment services,” says Gondek. “Shelter and service providers are unsung heroes in our community. Addressing barriers to accessing shelters is key, both for people’s immediate safety from cold, and for the longer-term benefits that support services provide.”
Barriers that keep people from accessing shelters include things like not being able to bring a pet or stay together as a couple. There may be concerns over having a safe place to store belongings. Or how to get to shelters if you aren’t nearby. Steps are being taken on actions such as extending the duration that pets can stay in The City's animal shelter; ensuring couples are welcome and incorporating temporary storage for personal belongings at the new spaces providing warmth and basic needs.
There will also be increased transportation supports through funding to shelter and outreach organizations to help get Calgarian’s experiencing homelessness to shelter and warming spaces.
“As the guide to fighting homelessness in our city, we are very pleased to see this funding from The City of Calgary for expanded resources. We are uniquely positioned to help coordinate a safe, effective and humane strategy to serve better individuals experiencing homelessness during our cold winter months,” says Patricia Jones, CEO of the Calgary Homeless Foundation. “Designing and implementing a plan with shelters, social agencies, community organizations and the City of Calgary will ensure that these additional resources produce the best possible impact and outcome for the homeless population we serve.”
There continues to be capacity in Calgary’s shelter system for anyone who needs a warm place to go. If you are cold and have nowhere to go these shelters and services can help – please call or visit. For more info and other available resources call/text/chat 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca 24-hours a day. If you see someone who needs help you can call the DOAP (Downtown Outreach Addiction Partnership) team at 403-998-7388. If someone is in serious distress or non-responsive, call 911.